AIM report card
Associated Industries of Massachusetts releases its 2016 legislative scorecard for the two-year legislative session.
Governors and premiers conference
Gov. Charlie Baker hosts other New England governors and premiers of eastern Canadian provinces in Boston today for the 40th Annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, starting with a private 9:10 a.m. meeting with FERC chairman Norman Pay at the Hynes Center; 10:15 a.m. opening remarks, followed by a session on emerging technologies; 12:30 p.m. luncheon; 1:50 p.m. discussion on diverse energy generation; 3 p.m. closing business session; 3:35 p.m. press conference; 6 p.m. reception with the other governors and premiers at Fenway Park.
Goldberg to present check
It’s a busy day at Fenway: Treasurer Deb Goldberg stops by the annual WEEI/NECN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to present a check from the Unclaimed Property Division in the amount of $201,879.83, with proceeds to go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Fenway Park, 10:50 a.m.
Healey to get ‘Konnected’
Also at Fenway, Attorney General Maura Healey attends a reception and on-field pre-game ceremony to honor Get Konnected’s list of Boston’s 100 most influential people of color, a partnership between the Boston Red Sox and Get Konnected, Jeano Deck, Fenway Park, 5:30 p.m.
Dems may be divided, but they can always count on Republicans to screw up
The Herald’s Hillary Chabot has a good column this morning on divisions within the state’s Democratic Party caused by Attorney General Maura Healey’s recent crackdown on “copycat” assault weapons. “There are a lot of Democrats who aren’t happy with her decision, but they don’t want to come out against one of the party leaders,” said state Rep. Colleen Garry, a Dracut Democrat who is one of 58 lawmakers who signed onto a letter opposing Healey’s ban. Combined with party divisions over charter schools and other issues, it could spell trouble for Dems, except for one thing: The state Republican Party is in even worse shape, as a Herald editorial bemoans this morning. How bad is it for Republicans? The Herald this morning said it was “pleased” to endorse Cambridge city councilor Leland Cheung in his Dem primary challenge to state Sen. Patricia Jehlen of Somerville, even though he’s ideologically at odds with the newspaper on almost every major issue except charter schools (and his position on charter schools is far from clear, btw). The word “pleased” was not a typo.
Budget primer for the uninitiated
Ever wonder why the state seems to hippity-hop from one budget crisis to the next, even though the economy is doing well and Massachusetts is far from being considered a low-tax state? The Globe’s Joshua Miller cites the main drivers of recent deficits: “Ballooning health care costs, weaker tax revenue increases than in every other economic recovery in the modern era, and policy makers’ addiction to fiscal gimmicks that allow them to avoid hard choices.” And, yes, Gov. Baker will likely be making more mid-year budget cuts in coming months.
Warren’s contradiction: Concerns about charter schools but ‘full throated support’ for school vouchers
CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas has a nice catch: Last week, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren expressed concerns about, though not outright opposition to, the November ballot question seeking to increase the number of charter schools in Massachusetts – and yet she’s also expressed support for a school reform “even more disruptive of the educational status quo than charter schools – school vouchers.” From Jonas: “In her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap, Warren offered a full-throated endorsement of a voucher system that would allow children to enroll at any public school within a large geographic region that crosses municipal boundaries.”
Awaiting word from the courts on body cameras …
City Hall and police union officials should learn soon – as in this week – whether a Suffolk Superior Court judge will block a planned pilot program that would force 100 Boston police officers to wear body cameras. The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association late last week asked the court to prevent the program from starting in September, arguing it violated the collective-bargaining arbitration process, reports WBUR.
Hampden County’s ‘top heavy’ sheriff’s department
The race for Hampden County sheriff is one of the more lively local elections this year in Massachusetts. It’s also a race to control one of the more plum county sheriff offices in the state, reports MassLive’s Phil Demers, who took a look at the salaries of the department’s employees: “The department’s 27-person administrative staff command average salaries of $116,746 and a total of 57 employees topped six figures in 2015. Describing the 27-person administration as comparatively huge and excessively paid — total salaries among the 27 amount to $3.15 million — HCSD correctional employees union and officials in neighboring sheriff’s offices deemed HCSD a ‘top-heavy’ organization. … By contrast, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office — with 20 percent fewer inmates, roughly 1,100 — employs a markedly smaller administrative, or ‘command,’ staff of 11, at a third the cost. These staff in Worcester pull down a collective $1.09 million, or $99,420 per head, more than $15,000 less than at HCSD.”
Rosenberg: The state won’t take decisive action on the mentally ill until forced by the courts
The Globe’s Spotlight Team had another installment on Sunday of its excellent series on the state’s abysmal mental health system and how the promise of community-based care never really materialized, largely because political leaders have consistently slashed spending on mental-health programs over the decades. Senate President Stan Rosenberg isn’t proud of that record, but he’s also realistic, saying it’s likely court action will be required to force lawmakers to properly fund programs. “For the most part, we’re still pushed into whatever it is we do,” said Rosenberg. “It’s not because we don’t care. It’s because there are so many compelling, competing interests chasing very few new dollars.”
Building boom stresses fire departments
Fire chiefs in the fast-growing suburbs west of Boston say their departments are being stretched to the max by a surge of new housing construction, Christopher Gavin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. In Sudbury, for instance, the department continues to operate with 32 full-time firefighters, the same number it had in 1978, while some 600 units of various types of housing are in the permitting pipeline.
Eyes on Healey in public records case
Attorney General Maura Healey is weighing enforcement options in two public records cases referred to her by the office of Secretary of State William Galvin and how she proceeds could set an important precedent, Matt Stout of the Herald reports. The cases—one relates to a T consultant report the Herald has repeatedly requested access to, the other to district attorney records sought by the Globe—are the first of their kind that the AG has had on her desk since taking office.
A Dunkin’ side room is regular public meeting spot in Brockton
The Brockton Cultural Council regularly meets in a side room of a Dunkin’ Donuts in the city of champions, Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports. The committee’s secretary says that the city pays a modest fee to rent the room and that she’s never heard any complaints about the location. Many members of the committee appreciate the convenience in terms of coffee and doughnut acquisition, she says. And then there’s the privacy. Can’t beat it.
Baker administration pushes other states for quicker carbon cuts
The Baker administration is urging other Northeast states to cut carbon pollution twice as fast as planned under a regional climate-change program, but some states are resisting, largely because they’re still dependent on coal to fire up power plants, the Globe’s David Abel reports. Indeed, Maryland is warning that imposing stricter regulations on states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative could be a deal breaker. “If (pollution) caps are unacceptable, we’ll have to talk about the next steps,” said Ben Grumbles, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment. “It could drive us out.”
From Fall River mayor to pot-business impresario
Former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan has found himself a new gig at the intersection of the growing legal marijuana industry and show business, Kevin O’Connor reports in the Herald News. Flanagan, who served as mayor from 2010 to 2014, recently served as an expert adviser on a TV pilot dubbed “The Hot Box,” which he says is basically Shark Tank for marijuana entrepreneurs and underscores the variety of opportunities in the industry, both in medical and recreational uses. “There is endless opportunity for the plant and for the treatment.”
Lowell mulls downtown food truck ban
Lowell City Manager Kevin Murphy is proposing the city council adopt a ban on food trucks and carts in the city’s downtown district, a move he says is supported by businesses in the area, Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports. Councilors who Welker spoke to have mixed feelings on the ban, which would carve out an exception for the one pushcart that already operates in the neighborhood.
Startup visa plan welcomed by entrepreneurs
The Obama administration has proposed a new visa program that would allow startup founders from overseas to spend up to two years in the U.S. building their new companies, a move welcomed by many in the local startup community, Jennifer Elias reports in the Boston Business Journal. The proposed rule will go into effect after a 45-day comment period and comes as the issue of immigration has once again been thrust to the forefront of the presidential campaign and public consciousness.
Mass Fiscal Alliance tears into Bernie’s new ‘Our Revolution’ group
From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative non-profit that has established itself as a foil to Democratic lawmakers on Beacon Hill, believes the new organization formed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to carry on the ideals of his presidential campaign may be violating state campaign finance law.” The reason? Because Sanders’ nonprofit group, Our Revolution, has a page devoted to highlighting its support for candidates around the country, among them state Sens. Jamie Eldridge and Patricia Jehlen, Rep. Mary Keefe and Democratic House candidate Mike Connolly. In a letter to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Mass Fiscal executive director Paul Craney said that’s a big no-no that violates campaign finance law. “Where I think they cross the line, and I think it’s fairly black and white, is where they start linking their non-profit page to candidates’ pages and talking about electing these candidates,” Craney said.
How to Contact MASSterList
Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.
Subscribe to MASSterList
Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.